Arts & Culture

KCUR’s Arts & Culture Desk covers arts news from music to visual art to dance and theater, with a focus on Kansas and Missouri.

Our reporters explore the behind-the-scene stories about newsmakers and emerging artists. We also take a look at the intersections of arts and technology, science and creativity, and present profiles of creative people. 

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has endured for decades, but former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell believes a nonviolent resolution is still possible. Then, one data scientist says expanding misuse of algorithms and mathematical modeling is creating Weapons of Math Destruction.

What are the books that you turn to when you need to connect with something bigger than yourself? KCUR's Bibliofiles recommend their own personal classics, their dog-eared favorites that they turn to frequently.

Guests:

With so many things competing for our attention these days, building an arts audience can be a challenge. Today, we learn how organizations like ArtsKC work to get people off the couch and into the concert hall. Then, find out what it was about a life on stage that brought award-winning guitarist Peter Himmelman to develop his own methods for more fully engaging creative potential.

Paul Andrews

A chat with the local actor and director about being an out teen in Blue Springs, how he helped create the campy and irreverent Late Night Theatre group and how, until recently, he couldn't perform onstage without throwing up.

Guest:

The story of how a local art gallery curator, while on his honeymoon in Guatemala, came across the intricate embroidery work of Antonio Ramirez Sosof, a self-taught artist who used to be a lumberjack.

Plus, an encore presentation of how a KU professor discovered that Neanderthals adorned their bodies with eagle talon jewelry.

Guests:

Courtesy of Craig Jones

Where do you get your hard-shell taco? You know, the kind that's filled with seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce and cheese and a soupy red sauce?

Well, for some Kansas Citians, it depends on where you grew up.

According to Craig Jones, In-A-Tub is a Northland tradition.

"For a lot of people that grew up north of the river, that was their first foray into Mexican food," he told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard.

When Anthony Ladesich found his father's youthful correspondence with an old Navy friend on a stack of reel-to-reel tapes, he also found so much more: a portal into Kansas City's jazz history, and a way of keeping his dad with him a little longer.

Plus, for the first time ever, a student was admitted to UMKC Conservatory's composition program using the computer as his instrument.

This is an encore edition of Central Standard.

Guests:

First, we look at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art's latest plans for expansion that's raising a few questions with some of its neighbors.

An Israeli artist who got his start doing aerial photography for the military — and has an exhibit opening in KC — talks about surveillance, trauma and expression.

Plus, a local author writes about trying to connect with a neighbor in a new anthology about inequality in America.

Guests:

Jennifer Milikien / Public Domain

Not to bum you out, but the weekend is finite.

A way to creatively stretch it: Do things that have a decent chance of enduring in your mind, things whose proven appeal has already lasted decades or even centuries in the history of entertainment.

Can’t take Friday or Monday off? No problem. You can still make the weekend last!

Like a good story, a song changes over time as it passes through different voices. We explore the Anatomy of a Song with writer and Wall Street Journal contributor Marc Myers, who recollects the oral histories behind some of the greatest classics in the past fifty years.

The history of brewing beer in KC, then a look at healthcare in KC's music community.

Guests:

Paul Andrews/paulandrewsphotography.com

For the past six years, Jyoti Mukharji has opened her home kitchen to teach Kansas Citians about Indian cuisine.

But to her fans, her classes are more than just about cooking. Mukharji peppers her talk with personal stories and health tips, then the class ends in a dinner party around her dining room table.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Don't ask Todd Sheets about the first horror film that he made.

"It's godawful," he told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard. "Anything I made before '93 I kind of disowned."

Sheets started making horror movies in the late 1980s in Kansas City. He quickly earned a cult following; he was even dubbed the "Prince of Gore."

There's a lot going on in the West Bottoms. The American Royal is moving out, and artists and craft beer enthusiasts are moving in. The area is also the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, which will funnel resources into creative visions.

A look at how these changes will affect the West Bottoms, plus an update on the American Royal leaving the area.

Guests:

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3 / File

What do artists, arts organizations, and cultural businesses want when it comes to creative space? Affordability? A sense of community?

A new regional arts market study is trying to find out.

Courtesy Bryn Greenwood

Lawrence writer Bryn Greenwood’s novel All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is a love story between a grade-school girl and a drug-running biker in his twenties, set on a meth-making compound in the rural Midwest.

Paul Andrews / http://paulandrewsphotography.com/

For the past six years, Jyoti Mukharji has opened her home kitchen to teach Kansas Citians about Indian cooking.

But to her fans, her classes are more than just about learning how to cook; she shares health tips and personal stories ... such as how she defied expectations on arranged marriage and on going to med school.

Guest:

  • Jyoti Mukharji, local culinary instructor

It's not a new story: newspapers are in flux. Recently, Yael Abouhalkah, a longtime Kansas City Star journalist, was laid off; he was one of only two editorial writers at the paper.

What is the significance of the newspaper editorial — especially in a time when nearly everyone can broadcast their opinion online? And how are layoffs affecting newsrooms nationwide?

Plus, Question Quest sifts through the legend and superstition to find the true story behind the Black Angel in Iowa City, Iowa.

Is nature a place to unplug ... or is it a photo op for social media? (#nature #gettingoutthere)? The relationship between technology and the wilderness.

Plus, a look back at how Leon Jordan and others consolidated black political power in Kansas City.

Guests:

Is the gas station central to the Midwestern experience? A look at the proposal that called for removing a street to expand a fuel stop in Westport, plus two bloggers who love QuikTrip so much that they've reviewed the food there.

Guests:

The 2006 film Idiocracy has become shorthand for the dumbing down of American culture. What are we really saying when we reference the movie?

Guests:

An interview with the political correspondent at NPR. How did her conservative Christian background and growing up in KC help her connect with people on the campaign trail?

Plus, Question Quest looks into a mysterious octagon in Belton.

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In this episode, Cody dives into a strange mix of karaoke, theater nerdery and artist subcultures to find out what happened to an odd roadhouse bar in Kansas City, Kansas.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

They're a Northland brother and sister who have traveled the world — he as a food writer and photographer, she in a career that's included time as an Olympic figure skater and a local TV news anchor. We chat with Bonjwing and Bonyen Lee in a family Portrait Session show.

Guests:

Missouri Division of Tourism / Flickr - CC

What to gaze upon this weekend?

There’s plenty to see, including rodeo performers and commemorative warbirds in daring action, scads of visual art around the Country Club Plaza and a singularly crazy sock puppet that successfully blows up the norm – funny how it only takes one.

So set your peepers on “watch” and revel in the readily observable. If it gets to be too much, I guess you can close an eye. But not both. C’mon, let’s get with the program.

1. American Royal Pro Rodeo

An interview with the outgoing managing editor of The Pitch, who's leaving town to write about the craft beer industry at Brewbound. We hear his take on KC's beer scene, which he covered for The Pitch, plus his assessment of the state of journalism here.

Guest:

  • Justin Kendall
Courtesy of LaBudde Special Collections / UMKC

UMKC alumna Jeanne Drewes spent years traveling to Cuba, partnering with Ediciones Vigía, an independent publishing company and collective of book artists in Matanzas, Cuba. Over that time, she amassed a sizeable collection of Cuban books, some of which she recently donated to the LaBudde Special Collections.

Courtesy of Bummer

Story of a Song is a monthly segment on KCUR's Central Standard in which local musicians tell the story behind a song they have written or are performing.

The Band: Bummer

The Song: "Bad News"

The Songwriters: Matt Perrin and Mike Gustafson

Monet's Final Endeavor Of 'Water Lilies'

Sep 19, 2016
Claude Monet / Public domain

Claude Monet's water lily paintings are some of the most beloved works of art in history, but the painter was endlessly frustrated by the elusiveness of his subject. Ross King, author of Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies, says the artist worked tirelessly on them, going so far as to have his barber trim his hair while he painted.

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